10/18/2006

Come on, Harry

This post by Harry Maryles, and the ensuing comments, really, really bothers me. He writes about a Kallat Torah which apparently took place at HIR this year. He then goes on to rip into this type of innovation. Read it for youself, if you have the stomach.
Here are the issues I have with this kind of reasoning:

1) Simchat Torah is, in Jewish terms, a brand-spanking new holiday. Do you realize that the Mechaber and Remo don't even mention Hakafot? Did you notice that the Mishna Berurah, whose ink, in the grand scheme of things, is barely dry, mentions that there are 'some communities who do 3 hakafot and some who do 7'? Yet you shray chai vekayam about R' Avi Weiss 'twisting' 'millenia old' traditions?

2) Is this really a major issue, Harry? Is the slope really all that slippery? What are you afraid of? BTW - I saw a Kallah Torah at Yakar in Jerusalem 10 years ago. Nothing is innovated in America, don't you know that by now? Sv now that you know this, are you going to draw conclusions and make declarations about the Rosen family and their corner of the orthodox world? or perhaps not since that's not the axe you're looking to grind?

3) In the comments you wrote about this being 'poresh min ha-tzibbur'. I'd like to know if you attended a 2nd-day Chu"l minyan in Eretz Yisrael. If you did, then you can stop criticizing others for being 'poresh' before the magnifying glass is turned back on you.

4) Who made you the judge and jury of what's 'extreme' and what's 'normal'? Are right and left wing defined by your personal comfort zone? And what do you know about the 'practical benefit' of these innovations? Hw d yu knws what his balabatim want?, and whether it's a 'legitimate' critique or mere 'social feminism'? Why must we insist on trying to psychoanalyze anyone who wants to try something muttar but different? Must we always evaluate their motives? Do we apply that standard consistently to anyone, male or female, who is looking for some type of religious expression, bein le-kulah, bein le-chumrah?

5) You may not like the direction of 'Left Wing Modorthodoxy' but there's a big, wide world out there, and most of it is outside your daled amos. For some odd reason, your version of things doesn't resonate with the majority of klal yisrael, and there's been plenty of time to try to work it out. If someone wants to take a different approach, which isn't quite as radical as, say, early chassidus, then watch and listen to see if they've chanced upon something that didn't occur to you.
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